As an adult looking back at my childhood, I can assure you that I was taught about many things in school, including algebra, geometry, and even about how Columbus sailed the ocean blue. However, one important thing that we were not taught about in school is money.
It seems odd to me in hindsight, because while I have NEVER had to use an algebraic equation in my adult life, I most definitely have had moments where I wish I knew more about finances. If you can relate, then you likely have already learned a few financial lessons too late. As a parent, I have sworn to educate myself more and more about financial issues so that I can educate my child, so they don’t have to learn the same hard lessons I have.
While there are so many that could be covered, the following 8 lessons are the ones I feel most people learn too late, and as my child gets older, this is what I plan to teach them about money.
1. The true value of money is freedom.
When most of us think of money, we think of what it will buy us. However, the true value of money isn’t what it can buy, but what it can offer you, which to me is freedom. Think about it: if you save up enough for retirement, you are buying yourself time to enjoy. When you have money saved up, you don’t have to constantly live in fear of losing your job or having an unexpected bill come up. When you save money, you aren’t saving to be rich, you are saving to ensure that everything is taken care of, and that is freedom.
2. You will wait your whole life for money to just happen when, in reality, you need to be saving.
Money isn’t just going to happen to you in large sums. I mean, it could, but it’s not likely. And waiting on that to happen is just begging for things to fall apart. Instead of counting on a big payoff one day, learn to take as much as you can and stick it in a savings account for a rainy day. To do yourself one better, invest that money in safe and lucrative investments to turn those small amounts into larger amounts.
3. Investments require patience and consistency.
You aren’t going to see a massive payout on your investments quickly unless it’s a super risky investment. A better course of action is to stick with something safe, steady, and nearly guaranteed. The dividends may trickle in slowly, but be patient and stay consistent. It will pay off.
4. Don’t count on being spoiled by anyone.
As a parent, I want my child to know first and foremost that while I don’t mind helping them, it’s best for them to not depend on me. And one thing is for sure, they need to make themselves independent because while I am not spoiling them, when you lean on anyone else to take care of you financially, you lose your freedom.
5. Live below your means.
A lot of people live either beyond their means or at their means. But, the most intelligent thing to do is live below them. For example, if you make $2000 per month, living off of credit cards to live above your means at around $4000 per month might sound like fun, but when disaster strikes (and it will) you are going to be put in a tough spot. Instead, live for $1500 and put the other $500 up!
6. Be wary of the financial advice others offer, especially those not in great standing.
Don’t take everyone’s advice. Especially in the age of social media, everyone thinks they know everything. Do your research.
7. It’s okay to change your mind.
I think a lot of us grow up thinking that by 18 we should have life figured out. However, that is not the way things go. So, pick a direction and go with it, and if you change your mind that’s okay too!
8. Money does not measure your success.
Money does not equal success or happiness. It’s a means to an end, but it shouldn’t be your only goal.